The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD has made even both of them.*

by chuckofish

Here it is the day before Easter and I woke to this

april morning

Sigh. Fortunately, the sun is out now and I’m sure it will melt before too long (right?). And at least I can close the drapes and pretend spring is here.

tulips

Since my dual personality has covered the religious side of things, Easter movies, and even our father’s birthday (April 4, 1922), I thought I would tackle music.  When I was growing up, we listened primarily to classical music. Thanks to my  mother,  I developed quite a soft spot for the dour, but romantic Russian composers, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Mussorsgky among others.

Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov looking suitably dour

Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov looking suitably dour

At Easter time, for example, we listened to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture”.

 

At Halloween we would turn of all the lights and listen to Mussorsgky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only were Rimsky-Korsakov and  Mussorsgky friends, but the latter was even best man at R-K’s wedding! In fact, while going through Mussorgky’s papers after his death, R-K found a piano piece called “Pictures at an Exhibition” that he subsequently transformed into the orchestral version with which we are familiar today.

R-K seemed to outlive a lot of his friends and family; he also ended up arranging much of Borodin’s unfinished work, including the performance version of “Prince Igor”.

In the long run Rimsky-Korsakov was extremely successful, but he had his moments of self-doubt, too. When he was just 26 he took a job as a Professor of Composition and Instrumentation and leader of the St. Petersburg orchestra. Later he observed:  “Had I ever studied at all, had I possessed a fraction more knowledge than I actually did, it would have been obvious to me that I could not and should not accept…that it was foolish and dishonest of me to become a professor. But I, the author of Sadko…was a dilettante and knew nothing”.** I know that feeling, don’t you? I find it endearing that such a genius could feel that way too.

As you celebrate the joy of Easter, enjoy some beautiful classical music. We seem to be a culture of forgetting and I sometimes worry that the ability to play and appreciate classical music is as much in peril of being lost as high level literacy. Last Saturday, for example, a friend and I attended a Bach concert, at which the vast majority of the audience had gray hair. I think the only person there under 45 was one of the singers.

Listen and See.

Have a Happy Easter!!

* Proverbs 20:12

**You can find the source for this quote and the other information about Rimsky-Korsakov here.